Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Intial thoughts on SOTU

Here are my initials thoughts on the State of the Union Address:
  • Far more style than substance--and there was not much style.
  • Bush incorrectly described the current war in Iraq in two ways: 1) he is still trying to lump it together with the war on terror, and 2) what is going on right now is indeed "the fight we entered" in Iraq.
  • Where's the money for all the domestic programs he mentioned?
  • What was with the feel good stories and guests at the end of the speech? Man, what a weak and desperate way to finish.
  • Jim Webb's response kicked ass in a big way.
If you simply can't wait for my oh so insightful views, you can watch Josh Marshall's analysis here. I have some additional opinions, but I agree with everything Josh has to say.


Blogger Ray said...

I found it interesting that Pelosi seemed to applaud much more than the rest of the Democrats.

I disagree with you to an extent (big surprise), Bush talked the talk for the most part. The key will be if he walks the talk. He said many things that was aimed at mollifying the Democrats. I wonder how much of it he really believed.

And putting private citizens in the spot light as he did has been going on since before his time. Isn't he merely following tradition?

1/24/2007 3:14 PM  
Blogger WCharles said...

Even with the Dems in the majority, Pelosi has to do some of the same dance Bush has to do and was doing last night. Since she was on camera almost all the time, she probably had to applaud more than she might have wanted to in order to avoid looking like a uncooperative harpy.

Yes, Bush talked the talk. He said a lot of things that nobody could reasonably argue with. To me, most of it was like saying that babies and puppies are cute. No one will argue with that, but what does it mean?

You are also correct that the key is whether he will "walk the talk." I heard nothing last night about how he intends to carry out what he said. That's one reason why I say there was much more style than substance in the speech.

As for putting private citizens in the spotlight, my point is that this particular effort was a weak way to end the speech. What did Dikembe Mutumbo, Julie Aigner-Clark, and Wesley Autrey have to do with anything he talked about in the speech prior to their introduction? Did their stories or their presence relate in any way to all the policy matters Bush discussed? And if they did have anything to do with something he spoke about, the time to recognize them and tell their stories (to make them meaningful) would have been in direct conjunction with such a topic. For instance, when Bush was talking about the fighting in Iraq, that would have been the time to introduce Sergeant Rieman. That is what he has done on many previous occasions. Instead, last night Bush went on to other topics and introduced the other three guests.

Now, look at how Bush led into those introductions. He said, "When America serves others in this way, we show the strength and generosity of our country. These deeds reflect the character of our people. The greatest strength we have is the heroic kindness, courage, and self-sacrifice of the American people. You see this spirit often if you know where to look -- and tonight we need only look above to the gallery." In that sense, the guests and their stories did relate to the speech. However, this lead-in did not relate to whatever substance there was in the speech. Instead, it was designed to end things on a feel-good, warm-fuzzy note--and that's all it was designed to do, and I base that conclusion largely on the facts that the placement and content of those stories did nothing to illustrate, emphasize, or explain anything else that came before them. In my book, that is style and no substance.

1/24/2007 4:53 PM  

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